Telecommunications industry rumours have long hinted that the nation’s number two telco Optus would follow in the footsteps of rivals iiNet and Internode and sign up with fledgling internet video player FetchTV. The rumours, it turns out, were true – but the partnership between the pair goes further than previous deals in the space.
iiNet and Internode are primarily partnering with FetchTV to bolt on the company’s internet video platform to their existing broadband services, rounding out their offerings with the third part of the industry’s long-anticipated ‘triple play’ bundle of broadband, telephony and video entertainment.
In a brief statement today, Optus and FetchTV revealed that they would indeed partner – but not just in the sense that iiNet and Internode have. Instead, the pair will collaborate to jointly develop an internet video service with integrated mobile functionality, to allow the delivery of video on the burgeoning smartphone and tablet platforms.
“The way people view and engage with video content is changing rapidly. Optus wants to be at the forefront of this change, which is why we’re partnering with FetchTV to develop a unique TV offerings across mobile devices,” said Optus Digital Media director Austin R. Bryan.
According to the pair, the new service is scheduled for launch in the second half of 2011, and is part of Optus’ broader TV strategy to develop a suite of “converged video services”, delivering “choice and control” for customers whether they’re at home or on the road. Price and specific details of the service will be available “closer to launch”.
The news comes as other players in Australia’s mobile ecosystem are ramping up plans to provide dynamic multimedia content through the burgeoning smartphone and tablet platform, in which Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices have taken an early lead, closely followed by Google’s Android operating system.
In late April, for example, Telstra announced that it would stream all AFL matches to mobile phones and tablets on the telco’s Next G network, as well as its T-Box set-top box, as part of a wide-ranging agreement with the Australian Football League.
“This agreement represents the coming of age for mobile technology and IPTV,” said Telstra chief executive David Thodey at the time. “No longer do Australians need to be tied to the lounge-room to catch Australia’s favourite sporting code live.”
TV stations such as the ABC, the Seven Network, Channel Ten and Nine have launched mobile applications to make their content available to consumers, and traditional newspaper publishers such as Fairfax have also developed sophisticated mobile platforms which allow streaming video to be consumed on the road by viewers.
It is not yet clear whether Optus’ partnership with FetchTV will allow the internet video company to provide its mobile platform to other customers such as iiNet and Internode, which do not own their own mobile networks, but do resell mobile access to other telco’s networks – such as that of Optus itself. Spokespeople from both Optus and FetchTV were not immediately able to provide further details on the matter this morning.
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